On their fourth outing Colorado’s Allegaeon show that progressive music can be all killer and no filler.
Prog has always struggled with the stigma of being indulgent- far too often progressive bands show more thought into being obtuse and technical without any real consideration for the listener. Sure, its impressive to hear a band play a million notes that your average musician would fail to grasp, but the appeal is short-lived and ultimately boring. Thank goodness then that Allegaeon’s own brand of progressive melodic death metal flies in the face of such genre tropes.
Each song on this 12 track odyssey is imbued with forward thinking ideas, from the bold bombastic drama of songs such as “Proponent For Sentience I- The Conception” to the orchestral grandeur of tracks like “Demons of an Intricate Design”. There’s plenty of majesty and straight-up awesomeness to enjoy as you headbang along to the band’s bruising and battering assault. Whilst its clear that the band are technically gifted, they don’t bludgeon the listener over the head with it, and instead opt to allow the songs to develop and engage without getting carried away with their creativity.
That’s not to say that these guys don’t know how to let their hair down and put their collective feet to the floor. “All Hail Science” is delightfully crushing and has an infectious chorus to sink your teeth into, whilst the intro to “Proponent For Sentience II- The Algorithm” makes the listener want to punch through concrete walls with its sheer kick-ass euphoria. When not wrecking necks and destroying skulls these guys also know their way around a mean melody, especially towards the latter end of the album when clean vocals are used to devastating effect on “Proponent For Sentience III- The Extermination” and a cover of Rush’s “Subdivisions”.
On Proponent For Sentience, Allegaeon have achieved the seemingly impossible by combining brilliant musicianship with an ear for catchy song writing, without letting one detract from the other. Albums like this just reaffirms to me why I love metal- for breaking boundaries, for inciting euphoria, and for providing a perfect outlet for aggression. Challenging, daring and brutal- Allegaeon have crafted a solid album of the year contender.
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